Teaching Through the Snow

By Rachel Hanson, SED 2016

Rachel HansonOne thing that is abundant is the School of Education is teacher observations. Between ED100 and Pre-Practicum, I have observed in at least a dozen teachers classes. I have seen US History, World History, Modern Conflict, Government, Psychology, and even some English classes. I have been able to watch teachers interact with students with IEP’s and 504’s. I have seen remedial though to AP classes. One thing that I learned from those experiences is that good teaching comes in many different forms. We have all seen practices that make us go “YES! That is how I want to be as a teacher”.

The spring semester of 2015 was recorded in history as the snowiest winter in Boston…ever. That spring also happened to be my Pre-Practicum. For my Pre-Practicum, I was placed in two Quincy Public Schools where my time was split between a middle school and a high school to observe as well as interact with the students and teacher. Due to all the snow, we had missed two or three visits since all the schools is Quincy had two weeks off because of the snow.

When we finally made it back in, it was a little hectic to say the least. Teachers were scrambling to catch up, students were antsy after being gone for so long, the administration didn’t expect us or forgot about us. All things that are to be expected when our city is drowning in six feet of snow. The head of the history department was trying to figure out where to send the four or five us who were there to watch social studies teachers. We wandered the halls a little, poking our heads into classrooms to find anyone to take us. I was given three classes with three different teachers to visit that day. The first two I observed were good, but visibly frazzled and the whole class was lecture-based. This was a teacher’s nightmare, two whole lost weeks with no sign of the snowpocalypse ending in the foreseeable future, so I accepted that as how one is supposed to teach after the very chaotic start they had to second semester.

I got mildly lost trying to locate my last class of the day, but when I finally found it, it seemed as if I was the only frantic one in the room. The teacher didn’t even seem phased by all the chaos happening in all the classes, halls and offices of the school. She handed out the rubric for their next project and proceeded to tell an antidote from a few years ago when a student built a life size catapult for his project and the rest of class was spent launching things across the schools field. The students were relaxed and so was the teacher.

Next she handed out novels to each student because there were going to read it as a start of their new unit. So for the rest of class they read aloud as a group, stopping to make note of any interesting or important characters or events. She stands out in my mind as the model teacher for how to act under pressure and how to incorporate other disciplines into her class. I never did make it back to her classroom, courtesy of all the snow, but I will be thinking of her class when I begin my student teaching this spring and am inevitably met with copious amounts of snow.

Rachel Hanson is a junior in the School of Education, majoring in Social Studies Education